The Fifty Shades trilogy ends with a lot of action, emotional tension and flashes of enlightenment; fans will be satisfied...

FIFTY SHADES FREED

From the Fifty Shades Trilogy series , Vol. 3

Ana and Christian get married, but continued physical and emotional threats, as well as Christian’s need for control, mitigate their bliss.

At the end of Fifty Shades Darker, Anastasia Steele agrees to marry her beloved magnate-billionaire boyfriend, Christian Grey. Fifty Shades Freed starts with their wedding and honeymoon, a fairy-tale journey through Europe that leaves Ana amazed and conflicted. Uncertain about her own ambitions and identity in the face of Grey’s staggering wealth and heady sexual pull, Ana sets out to stake a claim in the publishing world, helped and hindered by the fact that Christian has bought the company. Her continued personal and professional ambivalence is forgotten as she deals with personal tragedy; then exacerbated by a chafing desire for some individual freedom; and finally overshadowed by a continued threat that hovers over Ana and Christian from an old, malevolent enemy with connections to Grey’s past no one would expect and Christian doesn’t remember. Navigating a breathless few weeks of nonstop action and emotional turmoil, Ana makes some critical errors in judgment that will impact the couple forever, and Christian must finally confront some profound, painful truths in order to move forward to the life he never believed possible, but which rests within his grasp. James’ final segment of the hugely popular Fifty Shades trilogy continues along in the same vein as Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker—some compelling story arcs and a romantic “what-if” fairy-tale scenario. Ana comes across as more rather than less mature and poised in this book in some ways, particularly in her ability to whip up righteous anger toward Christian for being suffocating and stalker-ish—in order to keep her safe in the face of real danger—while taking little to no responsibility for breaking her own promises that compromise her safety. In general, the flow is decent, the story is well-paced and the dialogue remains better than expected, but there is a lot packed into this book, and it can be a little overwhelming and unbelievable. At times, too, Ana, rather than Christian, comes across as rigid and difficult, creating trumped up conflict. However, since the true function of this book is to assure the many Fifty Shades fans that all is well in Ana and Christian’s world, and they truly can overcome any and every possible thing, then the mission is accomplished in a satisfying way, with a healthy dose of hot sex. The short chapters at the end of the book—unmarked prologue and epilogue from Christian’s point of view—offer an intriguing peek into Christian’s psyche.

The Fifty Shades trilogy ends with a lot of action, emotional tension and flashes of enlightenment; fans will be satisfied that all’s well that ends well in the Grey house...er, mansion.

Pub Date: April 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-345-80350-4

Page Count: 583

Publisher: Vintage

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2012

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

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MAYBE SOMEDAY

Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

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